Bill of the Big Book

by A.A., Boruch (See all authors)

To all those who suffer from Lust addiction, we highly recommend reading the "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous. Download the full and complete edition of the "Big Book" (For our purposes, remember to replace the word "Alcohol" everywhere in the book with "Lust").

Today I want to quote from the "Big Book" where a man by the name of Bill is telling his story. Bill was one of the founders of the 12-Step program. (This program is used today to help thousands of people worldwide to break free of almost any type of addiction, including Lust addiction - see www.sa.org).

Bill describes his cycle of addiction to alcohol over many years in painful detail, and how he had become so addicted that he was suicidal. His friends and wife were sure that he would be locked up and institutionalized. He had been in and out of hospital and declared a hopeless situation. He had completely given up on himself and had seen again and again how he simply had zero will-power in this area.

Until one day, an old school mate - who had been a drunk like himself, gave him a call and showed up at his door. His friend claimed that he had found "religion" and had completely turned his life around.

We quote here from Bill's own words:

My friend sat before me and made the point-blank declaration that God had done for him what he could not do for himself. His human will had failed. Doctors had pronounced him incurable. Society was about to lock him up. Like myself, he had admitted complete defeat. Then he had, in effect, been raised from the dead, suddenly taken from the scrap heap to a level of life better than the best he had ever known!

Had this power originated in him? Obviously it had not. There had been no more power in him than there was in me at that minute; and this was none at all.

That floored me. It began to look as though religious people were right after all. Here was something at work in a human heart which had done the impossible. My ideas about miracles were drastically revised right then. Never mind the musty past; here sat a miracle directly across the kitchen table. He shouted great tidings.

I saw that my friend was much more than inwardly reorganized. He was on a different footing. His roots grasped a new soil.

I finally realized that it was only a matter of being willing to believe in a power greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning. I saw that growth could start from that point. Upon a foundation of complete willingness I might build what I saw in my friend. Would I have it? Of course I would! Thus was I convinced that God is concerned with us humans when we want Him enough. At long last I saw, I felt, I believed. Scales of pride and prejudice fell from my eyes. A new world came into view.

I finally understood the full significance of a Godly experience that I had experienced once in my youth. For a brief moment back then, I had needed and wanted God. There had been a humble willingness to have Him with me-and He came. But soon the sense of His Presence had been blotted out by worldly clamors, mostly those within myself. And so it had been ever since. How blind I had been.

At the hospital I was separated from alcohol for the last time.

At that point I humbly offered myself to God, as I then understood Him, to do with me as He would. I placed myself unreservedly under His care and direction. I admitted for the first time that of myself I was nothing; that without Him I was lost. I ruthlessly faced my sins and became willing to have my newfound Higher Power take them away, root and branch. I have not had a drink since.

My school mate visited me, and I fully acquainted him with my problems and deficiencies. We made a list of people I had hurt or toward whom I felt resentment. I expressed my entire willingness to approach these individuals, admitting my wrong. Never was I to be critical of them. I was to right all such matters to the utmost of my ability.

I was to test my thinking by the new God-consciousness within. Common sense would thus become uncommon sense. I was to sit quietly when in doubt, asking only for direction and strength to meet my problems as He would have me. Never was I to pray for myself, except as my requests bore on my usefulness to others. Then only might I expect to receive. But that would be in great measure.

My friend promised when these things were done I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator; that I would have the elements of a way of living which answered all my problems. Belief in the power of God, plus enough willingness, honesty and humility to establish and maintain the new order of things, were the essential requirements. Simple, but not easy; a price had to be paid. It meant destruction of self-centeredness. I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all. These were revolutionary and drastic proposals, but the moment I fully accepted them, the effect was electric. There was a sense of victory, followed by such a peace and serenity as I had never known. There was utter confidence. I felt lifted up, as though the great clean wind of a mountain top blew through and through. God comes to most men gradually, but His impact on me was sudden and profound.

For a moment I was alarmed, and called my friend, the doctor, to ask if I were still sane. He listened in wonder as I talked. Finally he shook his head saying, "Something has happened to you that I don't understand. But you had better hang on to it. Anything is better than the way you were."

This good doctor now sees many men who have such experiences. He knows they are real.

While I lay in the hospital the thought came that there were thousands of hopeless alcoholics who might be glad to have what had been so freely given me. Perhaps I could help some of them. They in turn might work with others. My friend had emphasized the absolute necessity of demonstrating these principles in all my affairs. Particularly was it imperative to work with others as he had worked with me. Faith without work was dead, he said. And how appallingly true for the alcoholic! For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die. Then faith would be dead indeed.

With us it is just like that.


In continuation of this idea, I would like to share with everyone a series of posts from "Boruch" - who is working the 12-Steps into his life through the groups, where he beautifully explains how the 12-Step program relates to us all, as Yidden. We encourage everyone to read the coming posts carefully, because a deep understanding of how this simple yet brilliant program works can be the most powerful tool you will ever come across to beat this addiction.

Boruch writes:

I would like to share with you how I have come to see the 12-Step approach that was - after all is said and done, totally conceived by non-Jews.

The Maharshal in teshuvos (98) said that the author of the sefer hakrisus, the Rash Mikinon, had studied all of the hidden mysteries of Kabbala and yet, when he davened, he davened like a one-day-old baby.

What could a one-day-old baby possibly teach Rash Mikinon that he did not know from Kabbala?

I will tell you how I now understand it. There is knowledge in all its complexity, and then there is "Behavior". Someone who has all the knowledge of hilchos shechita but has never seen a shechita will have no concept of how to shecht. That is called shimush. Learning the behavior.

So knowledge of Tefila is in Kabbala, but learning how to behave? Rash Mikinon chose a one-day-baby as his model.

Why? There are two things about a one-day-old baby:

1) He is totally dependent on his parents and has no hope of taking care of himself.

2) He only has one option of self-expression. He cannot choose how to approach his problems, how to present them or what words and expressions to use. No complications. He just opens his mouth and cries. Straight from the heart, honest and direct.

That's how Rash Mikinon davened. With the same total dependence on Hashem and with the same simplicity as a one-day-old baby.

Now, if we wanted to visualize for ourselves the behavior of a one-day-old baby, we could walk in to any maternity ward anywhere in the World. The baby doesn't have to be Jewish. It could be a Mexican baby, a Vietnamese baby, it makes no difference whatsoever.

That's exactly how I understand the original AA groups and the 12 steps. The alcoholics of AA were just like the one-day-old baby. They were totally desperate, they knew that Hashem was their last and only hope and they knew how they needed to come humbly to Hashem for His help. They needed an approach so simple that even a drunk could get it.

Now, we Frum Yidden are not short on knowledge of how to Return to Hashem. We may not be Rash Mikinon but we do have Shaarei Teshuva of Rabbeinu Yonah, we do have hilchos Teshuva from the Rambam. B"H, knowledge we have in plentiful supply. And knowledge of hilchos teshuva we will indeed not find among goyim, as Chazal say "Torah bagoyim al taamin". But from where are we addicts to learn how an addict who is returning should behave? Certainly not from a one-day-old baby.

I have found that, as a Frum Yid, I can learn the behavior with which an addict should return to Hashem from the early founders of AA. I can learn a set of behaviors so simple that even this drunk (who is me) could get it and implement it.

Does it matter whether the AA founders were Jewish? Absolutely not. Whether they were American, Mexican or Vietnamese? Not at all.

Certainly the AA founders wrote the steps in English and certainly they were to an extent influenced in some of their external presentation of the steps by their religion and culture. But in essence, the 12 steps represent a Path of Return to Hashem so simple that even a drunk could get it. And that's why it can work for me.

And I'm sure it can work for you too.

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